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Proportional Divider The Best Keep Secret to Improve Your Drawing

Proportional Divider The Best Keep Secret to Improve Your Drawing. Stefan Baumann has been Inspiring Millions to paint outdoors for years his mission is to Touch Move and Inspire. Get a free Book at his website The paintings of Stefan Baumann reveal the true spirit of nature by transporting the viewer to distant lands that have gone unseen and undisturbed. With the huge success of Baumann’s weekly PBS television series “The Grand View: America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist,” millions of people witness for themselves the magic Stefan portrays on canvas, his passion for nature and the American landscape. By distilling his love of nature into a luminous painting of brilliant, saturated color that transcends conventional landscape and wildlife art, Baumann has captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation. Each painting becomes an experience rather than merely a picture – a vivid manifestation of his special and personal union with nature and the outdoor world. Through his mastery of light, color and artful composition, Baumann invites you to experience nature in its purity. It is no wonder that for many years distinguished American collectors, including former presidents and financial icons, have sought out his work.

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Composition ~ The Foundation of a Painting

I woke this morning with the feeling that something had changed.  The air felt a little crisper, the sky looked a little darker and I could smell the earthy scent of leaves scattered on the ground in the woods. Yes, this is the feeling of fall, my favorite time of year! To celebrate the season, this year I am offering a September workshop that includes painting outdoors with a focus on Composition.

An important element in a painting is a good compostion which includes line, balance, movement, abstract form and many other details that are needed to create a great painting. Composition combined with other aspects of painting helps artists achieve their goals of creating pictorial unity.  To do this, one must understand what to include and exclude in a painting and how to focus the viewer’s attention on what the artist wants the viewer to experience.

A good painting requires the effective use of the concept, variety, rhythm, repetition, unity, balance and harmony in its composition. The first step to achieve this begins with an accurate drawing of the subject or scene that also includes the relative values and potential colors to be used in the painting.

When you begin a painting, the first thing to consider is if the subject is worth while. Is there something about what you are painting that will enhance or educate the viewer’s experience?  Does it wake up the viewer’s mind and go beyond the mere making of a picture?  Sometimes selecting subjects that are simple are better then overly complicated views.

Try to find a subject that has large masses or chunks. Then, by squinting your eyes, you will be able to identify the relative values of the masses in your painting, and ultimately see four or five value planes which form the foundation of your composition. Artists often start by painting these chunks of value instead of painting the landscape’s details or sky. Once the value chunks are painted in, the artist can open his eyes a bit more and draw the subtle details in each chunk.  At this time, color is not a concern as long as the rules of aerial prospective are observed, (things get lighter as they recede into the distance.)  The effectiveness of large, simple masses produce a direct and immediate structure in a painting, and the result creates appealing and striking arrangements of masses and designs that inspire the viewer.

Painting requires practice that is ongoing throughout the life of an artist. Every journey begins with the first step, and I invite you to come to Mt. Shasta for an experience of a life time.  Fall workshops at The Grand View Ranch are exceptional. Autumn is a special season when thousands of dogwoods and oak trees change their green summer foliage to orange and golden yellows, and the sun begins and ends lower on the horizon extending its shadows onto the landscape making it the most perfect time to paint on location.

During every workshop I challenge my students to stretch their comfort levels and learn new painting techniques and applications.  In this way, students have opportunities to enhance the way they see and paint more effectively on location.

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Showing Peggy’s Ladies At Rogue Gallery


Greetings!  I’m happy to announce that I am showing three of my ladies at the Rogue Gallery and Art Center in Medford, OR.

Showing: Peggy's Three Ladies

The Members Gallery will hang the ladies through January 10th, 2017 and the paintings are available for purchase.

About The Ladies

Ladies: I Can't Hear You

I Can’t Hear You,  Watercolor, Image Size 15×12

This painting was based on my ninth drawing in the “Just Sayin’…” series.  I am fascinated by how the use of a cell phone has effected our culture.  One of the more amusing gestures I notice is the finger put to the ear in order to hear better.   In this painting, my thoroughly modern lady is talking on her cell phone, using the thoroughly modern gesture of finger to her ear.

Ladies: Just Sayin'...V8

Just Sayin’…V8, Watercolor, Image Size 10.5×7

The “Just Sayin’…” series of paintings is inspired by the ubiquitous cell phone.  One can scarcely be in public without noticing someone talking on the cell phone and overhearing the conversation.  In this variation, my subject is an “upscale” lady, perhaps dressed for a special occasion like afternoon tea.  Even she has a finger to her ear as she talks on her cell phone.


Ladies: Irish Maiden

Irish Maiden, Watercolor, Image Size 10×7

With Irish Maiden, I wanted to combine symbols of Ireland in a Cubist-inspired designed.  The maiden’s crown eludes to the triple spiral and triskel, symbolizing unity of mind, spirit and body.  Naturally, I included shamrocks, the easily recognised symbol of luck.  The shamrocks and the color green together remind me of every St. Patty’s Day in elementary school.  Green was my favorite color and I made sure to wear plenty of green clothing.  Add a shamrock pin and I was ready not to get “pinched”.

Third Friday

If you are in the southern Oregon area, I hope you will stop by the Rogue Gallery and view the paintings.  Every third Friday of the month, the gallery holds a reception.  This is a particularly festive time to visit the gallery.


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After Action Review (AAR) of Watercolor & Ink Demonstration

Review Time!

Greetings!  Yes, it is time I did a review.  It has been about two weeks since I did my watercolor and ink demonstration (demo) for the Southern Oregon Society of Artists (SOSA) in Medford.  I had a wonderful time!  The organization treated me well and I had an enthusiastic audience.   It was an exciting and memorable event for me.  So much to think about!

Review of Watercolor & Ink Demo

Here I am in mid sentence; all set up and ready to go! Southern Oregon Society of Artists; August 2016

Thank You!

First, I’d like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the following:

  • Lori Garfield for all the coordination before hand; it was great and most helpful! Thanks for the introduction.
  • Marilyn Foreman, for inviting me to do the demo; what an honor!
  • To the members of SOSA for their warm and enthusiastic welcome.

After Action Review

My purpose for conducting this after action review is to put down on paper all those things I am thinking about (so much to think!)  The great thing is that next time I need to do a demonstration, I can review what happened this time.  Remembering what went well and where I might improve is important to me.  I hope to do more demos in the future!

After Action Review Format

This is the AAR format I used. Feel free to copy if you like.

What Was Supposed To Happen

  • The Society of Southern Oregon Artists SOSA) invited me to give a demonstration on watercolor and ink techniques. My audience represented artists of different media and different skill levels. I had roughly an hour and a half to show how I work with watercolor and ink.
  • My intention was to show how I create a watercolor & ink painting from start to finish. I divided my work process into three phases based on the media I use: graphite, ink and watercolor. Each phase was to take twenty minutes.
  • Throughout the demo, I planned to talk and explain the development of the painting. Talking points were to include ideas, materials, working with the media, etc.

What Happened

  • I was able to follow my plan of roughly 20 minutes per medium: graphite, ink then watercolor.
  • After a nervous start, I dove in and did my best. By mentally diving in, I was able to relax and get down to the task of drawing and painting!
  • Artist members asked questions as I worked.  I was pleased to answer questions as I worked, and even more pleased that I was able to keep my focus!
  • The audience was so warm and attentive that I had a great time!  So much fun to be with a wonderful group of fellow artists!
Review - Organic Grind Demo Painting WIP

First state:  Organic Grind Coffee at the end of the SOSA demo session; August 2016

What Went Well

  • I had prepared; I had a plan and it worked.
  • Having a time line set for the demo worked well for me. I had a watch with a timer so that when 20 minutes was up I could move on to the next stage of the painting development. This method of chunks of time ensured I didn’t get bogged down in one task.
  • To my surprise, I worked on one painting throughout the demonstration. I had “work-in-progress” type paintings prepared in case I became stuck or had problems. However, I was able to work on one painting throughout.
  • Having multiple “work-in-progress” type paintings prepared facilitated the flow of the demo. I used the “work-in-progress” pieces to emphasize points about the development of a painting using watercolor and ink.
  • I was able to adjust on the spot. For example, I started the drawing phase of my demo painting using an HB pencil, true to my normal practice. Unfortunately, I draw too lightly with an HB. Once the audience told me they couldn’t see, I was able to pull out an 8B pencil which was much easier to see.
  • Having prepared and rehearsed talking out loud while painting, I was able to speak without referring to my talking points, at least after the first few minutes.
  • Another surprise was that the audience appreciated seeing me go through the drawing phase with graphite.  I had almost decided to cut out the drawing, but the audience was glad I did the drawing.
SOSA Demo Review. Final state of demo painting - Organic Grind Coffee

“Organic Grind Coffee S”; final state. Completed after the demo. 2016

What I Might Want To Do Better*

  • Get more of the plan on paper ahead of time.  I had a checklist and a narrative typed out.  But, I could have been more detailed on paper; I relied on too many things being in my head.  It might have been a disaster if I had stage fright!
  • I still get nervous when asked to do a demonstration. Practice, practice practice!
  • I might want to consider something like adding a simple PowerPoint presentation to keep the audience and me focused on key points. This is a “nice to do”; equipment will be the limiting factor.
  • Timing. I kept to my timeline, though I did not plan for a question period at the end. I think next time I might want to allow a period for questions. Could it be I was a bit nervous about questions?

*Note: My husband video recorded the demo session. He is preparing it for my review. I may identify a few more things I want to do next time around!  I hope to post a link to the video soon

After Action Review Conclusion

Review - Keys to success

For me, reviewing my preparation for and conduct of a watercolor and ink demonstration was important.  By evaluating where I am now, I can see what I might want to do to improve.  Its also good to stop and acknowledge what a grand time I had thanks to the members of SOSA.

Your Input

Your insight and opinion is valuable to me!  If you would like, please share your experiences!

Review of SOSA Demo



My husband video recorded my demo and it can be seen online.  Please see below!

SOSA Part 1


SOSA Part 2

Sit back with a cup of coffee, tea or… and enjoy!  🙂


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Pen and Ink… Just Inking Around

Watercolor & Ink Demo

“Inking” – as in drawing with ink.

Hi!  I’ve been studying up on working with ink in preparation for my upcoming demonstration for the Society Of Southern Oregon Artists.  And, its coming up this Monday!  Note to me…that’s SOON!

SOSA Inking Demo

But I’ve been preparing.  And, besides, how hard can it be to stand in front of a room full of people and talk while painting?

Exactly; for some of us it might be easy.  Not so for me.  So I’m arming myself with knowledge!

Dip Pens

I decided I ought to know more about my materials and dip pens in particular.  “Old school” time – and its really fun!

The reasons I’m working with dip pens and nibs follow:

  • I had several laying around my studio.  Yes, several stylus (styli?) and nibs just laying around in my studio waiting to be appreciated and used.
  • I like how dip pens and nibs are sensitive to the touch and expressiveness of the artist.
  • I had ink, Higgins “Magic Ink” in black.  I also have some acrylic inks but am not using them for this demo.
  • So, you can draw the conclusion —  I didn’t have to purchase new supplies!  I like using supplies I have around the studio and house.
Working With Ink: Mapping Nibs

My Collection of Mapping Nibs; Comic Nib for Comparison.  Please note, the nibs are not in any particular order.

Something Special About His Nibs

One of the most exciting things I found out about my supplies is that I have some “vintage” nibs.  Did you know that there are such things?   These nibs were my father’s – artist John Stermer.  I cleaned them up and they work great!  As a matter of fact, several looked almost brand new.

Working with Ink: Dip Pen Nibs

My Collection of Comic or Regular Nibs Plus one Calligraphy Nib.  Note, the nibs don’t necessarily align with the list of nib types.

Dip Pen Tips – For Using

I thought I’d share some tips for working with dip pens.

  • Keep your nibs clean; they work better.  The ink flows and it is ever so wonderful!
  • The nibs are designed to be held a slant, about 45 degrees.  They don’t work quite so well on the vertical.
  • Draw moving the pen toward you; the nibs glide.
  • You can wear out a nib going back and forth.  They work better when you draw in one direction – toward you.
  • You can dilute some inks as much as you like.  Even a little bit of water can enhance flow.
  • The nibs work better on smoother paper.  I have tried using dip pens on rough watercolor paper and the ink does not flow as well. Its all a matter of taste, though.  Whatever works for the artist.
  • When you’re done with your pen, remove the nib.  Store dry.

About the Ink

I use Higgins Black Magic Ink.  It is waterproof and fade proof.  That means, for example, after the ink dries, you ought to be able to paint over it with wet watercolor with out lifting.  However, I did manage to get a smear this morning.  I have no idea why; something must have been not quite right.  Generally speaking, though, it does work as advertised.

There are other inks that are not waterproof.  They can be great, but I haven’t been experimenting with them.  They are beyond the scope of my  upcoming demonstration.

Materials: Ink, watercolor, paper, dip pen and brushes

Supplies:  Ink, watercolor, paper, dip pen with nib attached, watercolor brush and ink brush.

My Process

Back to the demonstration.  My process for incorporating graphite, ink and watercolor is as follows:

  • Graphite:
    • Draw with graphite first.  This is the most important phase.  I have to resist the urge to move on to ink and watercolor too soon.
    • Its easier to make drawing corrections to graphite drawings.  And, if there is a problem with the drawing, so goes the painting.
  • Ink:
    • I re-draw my subject with ink, though I don’t need to re-draw every line.
    • I emphasize major lines or nodes (junction points).
    • I like to use ink to map out direction or movement in the drawing.
    • I cross hatch to ensure I understand the value (light/dark) pattern of the subject.  Sometimes this is a fast phase; sometimes I want the ink to be the focus so I am more deliberate.
  • Watercolor:
    • Poetry in color!  This is splishy-splashy fun time.  It can be the hardest phase too!
    • I concentrate and work on using the paint to enhance the image.
    • The trick is to use enough to capture a feeling; not so much watercolor as to kill the poetry.

Single Best Tip

The best tip I can offer:  if you have a dip pen in your studio, give it a try!  You might have loads of fun!

Ink study

Study, Watercolor & Ink

Assorted Links:

On cleaning and care of the nibs.

  • Care and Feeding of the Calligraphy Dip Pen.  Even though the author talks mainly about calligraphy (italic) pen nibs, the same principles apply to point dip pen nibs.  I found a suggestion to clean ink pen nibs with ammonia based glass cleaners in this article.  This is for pen nibs that have caked on ink.  Ammonia window (glass) cleaners work wonders!  Brought my nibs back to clean as new!
  • Guide to Nibs and Nib Holders .  Provides a good over-view of the types of nibs and holders.




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Painting Better Paintings Plein Air and in the Studio

Painting Better Paintings Plein Air and in the Studio presented by Master painter, teacher and host of The Grand View on PBS Stefan Baumann to a classes of his students. Baumann discusses lighting and effects that can be found in “The Night Watch” and Sargent’s “Madam X” and also what to look for in a great painting. you can get a free book by Baumann on Painting by going to

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Studio Snapshot – New Earth Spirit Vessel: Autumn Blaze

This past week I have been finishing up my latest Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze. I actually started this last fall, but was so busy this past winter and spring, that I never got it finished. So after coming back from a wonderful calligraphy and art retreat, I decided to finish some past projects before I delved into starting new pieces of paper art.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze made from folded paper.

Some of the papers in Autumn Blaze are hand painted paste papers. I included gold powder in the paste paper. It gives the vessel a subtle glow that isn’t quite apparent in the photo.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

The beginning of making Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze.

Autumn Blaze contains 592 pieces of hand folded pieces of 2″ by 4″ paper. Each piece of paper is folded 9 times and glued in place. While it is not necessary to glue the pieces, I have never had anyone want a vessel that was not glued. I only raised boys, and I know how inquisitive minds like to take things apart to see how they were made. I think my customers must think like me.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is beginning to take shape.

Earth Spirit Vessel, Autumn Blaze as it is starting to take shape.

If you want to know more about my Earth Spirit Vessels, you can check out these blog posts of mine:
Earth Spirit Vessels
Earth Spirit Vessels – The Process
Earth Spirit Vessels From My Paste Paper Show

Enjoy, Candy

Plein Air – The Ultimate Workshop Mt. Shasta

Plein Air – The Ultimate Workshop Mt. Shasta, in this video witness for yourself the ultimate Plein Air Workshop with Stefan Baumann, Baumann discusses what a weekend workshop is like in Mt Shasta along with stunning photos of Mt. Shasta. This is truly a life altering experience that will change the way you paint forever! for more information and dates of workshop go to or call 1-800-511-1337

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More Photos – Calligraphy & Art Retreat 2016

After posting Monday’s blog post with lots of photos of what went on the annual Calligraphy & Art Retreat I attend every year, I realized there was a lot more I wanted to share. So much happened within those 7 days, it’s hard to remember it all.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

My first attempt at pastel dusting.

After I got home I realized that I took many photos of what others did, but only one photo of what I did during the week. The above photo shows my first attempt at pastel dusting. Sally demonstrated both the pastel dusting and making the squares into a mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

The other side of my pastel dusting mobile.

My head is still swimming with ideas. And my dreams for the past few nights have been incredible, all about ideas for new art projects.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

Wonderful little gifts I received from my artist friends.

There was a wonderful camaraderie and sharing of ideas, techniques, tools and more.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

I took some of my stash of tea bag wrappers and demonstrated tea bag folding.

My tea bag folding demonstration was a hit. I took a bunch of my tea bag wrappers and shared them with everyone.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

I think I got Sally hooked on tea bag folding.

The above photo shows some of the rosettes that Sally made. I find it amazing how such a simple folding of tea bag wrappers can be so meditative and relaxing.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

File folder dipped in walnut ink shown with walnut ink crystals.

The above photo is of the file folder I dipped into walnut ink, then dried on scrunched up plastic. The plastic bag in the photo is 8 ounces of walnut ink crystals. I will be using these to make my own walnut ink later this winter when I have some free time to experiment with this technique for an extended period of time.

This is one of Michelle's walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

This is one of Michelle’s walnut ink file folders. She started with a red file folder.

The above photo is something Michelle has been working on. It started out as a red file folder that was dipped into walnut ink. The white areas are where she dabbed on bleach. She then added stitches and some ink drawing. I think this would be perfect as a cover for a little journal.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

One of the projects I worked on during the week.

I got to work on a number of different projects during the week. The above photo shows some of the card books I started making.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

We sent two mobiles to two of our past Womenuchans who were unable to attend this year. Here are the squares that were eventually made into mobiles.

Tea bag folding, pastel dusting and mobile making were three constants throughout the week. The above photo shows the squares that we each decorated for Sam and Judy. They became mobiles that were then sent to them. Hopefully both will be able to make it next year.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

This is what Adelaide made to carry her colored pencils.

There was a lot of sharing during the week. Adelaide showed us how she made a colored pencil carrier from a piece of felt. The creativity of everyone who attended our retreat is amazing.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

Information as well as lots of mobiles were posted on this door in our joint studio.

It was one amazing week. I am so looking forward to next year.

Happy creating, Candy

Prepping for Watercolor and Ink Demo

Art Demonstration on the Horizon!

Greetings!  I’m so excited!   I’m preparing myself to do a demonstration (demo) of my watercolor and ink techniques.  I have been invited by the Southern Oregon Society of Artists, a large local organization.  I was thrilled to receive the invitation.  But, I also had a sobering moment;  I needed to “up my game” so to speak.

Put another way, I want to do a good demo.

Demonstration: working with watercolor and ink


What I Have Been Doing

I have been spending the last six months working on painting from life using ink and watercolor.  I have been running the demo through my head to visualize how I’d like this to happen.

Now it’s “crunch time”.  I need to get it all down on paper.  ?

Organic Grind Espresso Kiosk; Watercolor & Ink Demonstration

Where I Am Now

I have selected my subject – the Organic Grind Espresso Kiosk in Talent, OR, (see the image above).   I like this subject; it seems simple – a building on a lot.

But, as I keep working on it, I find interesting shapes, lines and tones.  There is a lot to “simple”!

Yes, I have been working on it.  I have gone to the location and done watercolor and ink sketches.  I may go again.

Back in the studio, I’ve been doing drawings and value studies.  These drawings and studies help me discover things about my subject.  Its a way of “painting what I know” by studying it!  Fun!

Here’s an earlier version of “Organic Grind”, drawn and painted from a different angle.

Organic Grind, Watercolor & Ink

What I Will Be Doing

Here’s an list of tasks for the next phase of this demonstration operation.

These tasks, while numbered, will be worked on concurrently.  That is to say these are tasks that do not need to be done sequentially.

Task One:  Explore the issue of why I paint this way in the first place.

Task Two:  Describe in detail the “what is it that I do”.  And, to get used to talking about it.  While drawing.  And staying focused!

Task Three:  Design the physical layout of my workspace.

Task Four:  Practice and adjust!

Might as well start with task one right here!

Demonstration, Watercolor & Ink

Why I Paint with Watercolor and Ink

My husband and I like to travel and camp.  We go to interesting places such as Blue Mountain (also known as “Cliff Ridge) in Utah near Dinosaur National Monument, for example (see above).  It seems natural for me to want to paint on location.

How to Draw and Paint Nature

The question of how seemed particularly pertinent because my normal modus operandi tends to be stylized in manner.  I tend to look more at the paper than at a physical subject and use my imagination.

This is not the best plan if one wants to draw and paint what one sees.  When drawing from nature, one needs to look at the subject in front of them!  For me, this is oddly challenging!  I have a tendency to look at the paper.  I’m improving, but I still have to remind myself to look-at-the-subject!

Peggy's People Collection - RCC December Invitational

It Starts With Drawing Skills

In any case, it all starts with drawing, doesn’t it?  For me the answer is “yes”.

So, I started drawing when we went on trips.  Not satisfied; I wanted to do more.  Inspired by the Urban Sketcher movement and all the wonderful watercolor journals I see on the web, I started experimenting with watercolor studies.

Naturally, as I started I felt kind of clumsy.  Thats what happens when you do something new.  I took out a “Faber Castell” artist ink pen I had hanging around and restated the forms of my subject.  It seemed to help.

Thus my exploration into ink and watercolor was born of necessity.

So, back to work and Task Two, describing in detail how I work.  More soon!

Thank you for stopping by!  I’ll leave you with a final watercolor and ink study done from a recent trip to Hyatt Reservoir in Southern Oregon.





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